“As a child in Japan, I used to go to a temple and write out a wish on a piece of thin
paper and tie it around the branch of a tree. Trees in temple courtyards were always
filled with people’s wish knots, which looked like white flowers blossoming from afar.”
All My Works Are A Form Of Wishing”  – Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono’s interactive artwork Wish Tree (1981) is an installation where people are invited to write their personal wishes for peace and tie them to a tree branch. Yoko has collected all the wishes – currently totaling over a million. There have been Wish Tree installations all over the world. When the tree is completely covered with wishes, the paper tags are removed and saved. The Wish Tree installation which currently resides at MoMA in NYC will end in Fall 2010.

The Wish Tree is a tribute to Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s campaign for world peace.

Interview with Yoko Ono, 1996: (courtesy imagine peace website)

Q: And when did the “Wish Tree” happen for the first time?
YO: I don’t remember exactly when. It’s after 1981, after John, my husband’s passing.

Q: Every city could have a “Wish Tree!”
YO: When they did it in Finland they said one tree was not enough. Because the wish was becoming much larger than one tree. They added so many trees it became like a mini-forest. You suddenly see very strong emotions of people coming out. It is fantastic. I’m keeping all the wishes from all the countries, although I never read any of them. I feel it’s not right to read people’s private wishes.

Q: It’s a growing archive?
YO: It’s not an archive. I’ll tell you what’s going to happen: every piece of paper has a wish on it, I don’t read it, and all of them will be put in one big tower of a sculpture, like a totem. It will be a very powerful sculpture… a tower which contains wishes of the people of the world of our time. All in one tower!

Photography courtesy: sparked and imagine this websites, Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images

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